We knew that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev smoked pot — he seemed to admit as much on his much-parsed Twitter account. But according to a new report, the Boston Marathon suspect was also a go-to source for marijuana on campus. Because, you know, he was a kid in college.
The younger Tsarnaev brother never went broke while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth — and that could be attributed to his side business dealing drugs, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday morning. "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a scholarship student who earned spending money by selling marijuana, say three people who bought drugs from the 19-year-old," the Globe's Todd Wallack and Beth Healy write.
Before you go out screaming about accused terrorists and their connection to Big Weed, you should know Dzhokhar wasn't high up on the drug food chain. "Several fellow students reported he earned at least some cash selling marijuana — at least the portion he didn't smoke himself," the Globe reports. From the sound of it, Dzhokhar was dealing to get a better price for his own supply — a common occurrence for heavy smokers in college dorms. There's a readily available market, and they save money, something Dzhokhar apparently was concerned about. He appears to have been earning money on the low as a pot connect.
Tsarnaev never had a lot of money while attending school, but he was never short on cash, either. On Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported that the two brothers received state welfare benefits through their parents when they first came to America, painting a picture that would imply the family was receiving little if any financial help from back in Dagestan. State benefits also helped 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev raise his three-year-old daughter up until 2012 when his wife, Katherine Russell, started earning enough as a home health aide that they no longer qualified.
Back at UMass Dartmouth, Dzhokhar was on scholarship and tweeting up a storm, even as recently as the week before the bombs went off:
-you don't care that I smoke, right? -man, I wouldn't care if you shot yourself in the head ^friendship— Jahar (@J_tsar) April 10, 2013
His friends have already expressed amazement that the guy they used to get high with could bomb the Boston Marathon, but the development that he was a dealer is new. It might help explain how Dzhokhar was tweeting about eating pizza, or Nutella and Frosted Flakes, late at night. Of course, it doesn't help explain much else, about his mindset or why he apparently followed his brother's lead to violence. But it does continue to establish a portrait of a college kid gone wrong — despite what some would like to believe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.